Material Process

The material system will look at using low - tech pneumatic techniques to create double curved concrete components. The process investigates how air pockets can be used to structurally optimise a conventionally heavy material.

The system uses the thesis- Interstitial Iterations by Ipek Kuzu & Sandra Sifakis & Chiara Zaccagnini as the starting point for research. The abstract of the project outlines the possibility of obtaining foam-like architectural shells with the help of advanced simulation methods (including sphere packing simulation) and self-placing ultra-high performance fibre-reinforced concrete.

The aim of the project was to challenge the perception of concrete shell structures as a flat thin surface without any openings, as well as their basic forms and the idea of covering big spaces without subdivisions. It seeks to investigate a new methodology that replaces the limited conception of the traditional concrete shell structures which began to appear in 1920s,in light of the potentials of natural structures. It proposes to create a 3D perforated ‘thick concrete shell’ that generates a system and covers functional, structural and formal needs.


Interstitial Iterations

M.Arch Thesis Project, Bartlett, UCL, 2014
Ipek Kuzu / Sandra Sifakis / Chiara Zaccagnini

The aim of the project is to challenge the perception of concrete shell structures as a flat thin surface without any openings, as well as their basic forms and the idea of covering big spaces without subdivisions. It seeks to investigate a new methodology that replaces the limited conception of the traditional concrete shell structures which began to appear in 1920s,in light of the potentials of natural structures.It proposes to create a 3D perforated ‘thick concrete shell’ that generates a system and covers functional, structural and formal needs.

The intention of designing a ‘thick concrete shell’, has started with investigating the potentials of natural cellular structures such as foam.In particular,the project focuses on the aspect of multiplicity, heterogeneity and study self organising natural structures as a model to create engineered structures with concrete.It investigates models as a result of dynamic systems, as observed during celular foam’s fabrication.

Cellular foam structure has driven the project to explore the relation of solid and void, as well as blurring the architectural idea of internal and external space. The concrete cast is formed around packed spheres system, the out coming structure is the result of a reverse conceptual method:form is made by its own voids.Thus this form can be defined as an interstitial space* which is a term primarily derives from biology and medicine, where it describes the space and fluid surrounding the cells of a tissue; meaning in-between space.Architecture itself provides shelter from ever-changing environment. The built structure (the shell) mediates between the environmental conditions of inside and outside. This makes the shell a connector-interstitial space.

The deterministic layer of organisation of the spheres is placed following the functional and structural requirements. The stochastic level is responsible for the principal reticulation of the concrete lattice that generates porosity.The architectural fabrication is inspired by Dante Bini’s construction process: inflating membranes for creating concrete shells.

The result is a new form of architectural scenario-a form partially created by self-organization of voids (spheres) that will create through dynamic and variable parameters such as air (elastic balls or balloons) and liquid (the concrete cast).It is a concrete cellular structure (three-dimensional lattice shell) that is densely interconnected architectural structure, which responds to the material scale as well as the spatial organization.


Porosity Installation

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2015 (Mumbai, India)

Porosity, 1:2 scale pavilion is a part of the ongoing research for AA Visiting School Mumbai intended in July 2015.

The strategy for variable porosity in this pavilion is an inspiration from nature. It is very evidently seen in many aspects in nature including the bone as they have more material at places where required and less where it does not have structural / functional need. Bio-inspired logic is translated into a design of a pavilion in this installation. Such dynamic spatial structure is developed using sophisticated computational tools and delivered with innovative 3d printing technology.

The idea of creating an enclosure with an installation that houses a maker’s space along with custom printing was to promote innovation and maker's culture in India. Completely 3D printing an installation with small parts and interlocking them to form one big piece is explored for this installation. The 3d printed parts allows us to dictate the mass and weight of each part which was reduced gradually with height ensuring the structure is in balance with optimum amount of material and good strength.

It has taken over 720 hours of printing on Two Flash Forge Pro 3d printers and was cut into 87 parts and joined to form one uniform piece. The Installation is designed by AAVS Mumbai team and 3d printed & sponsored by Samarth Shah owner of Melting Mints .

Pictures courtesy: Apoorva Madhavan